Olympics to remain with BBC Sport for at least next five games

Olympic Games rings 2012 on the Tyne Bridge

The BBC will be the exclusive free to air Olympic broadcaster in the UK for the next five Games.

“We are delighted our partners Discovery / Eurosport and the BBC are collaborating on this long term agreement which is great news for viewers in the UK. By sharing the rights, viewers will benefit from the BBC’s rich Olympic heritage and Discovery’s innovative approach to storytelling. Together, they will make the Olympic Games as accessible and engaging as possible.” – Timo Lumme, Managing Director of IOC Television and Marketing Services

The BBC and Discovery Communications have announced a long-term Olympic Games agreement in the UK, building on a 30-year partnership between the two global media organisations. The innovative deal means that the BBC will sub-license -from Discovery- exclusive free-to-air audio-visual and non-exclusive radio rights to the 2022 and 2024 Olympic Games. In turn, Discovery will sub-license -from the BBC- exclusive pay-TV rights in the UK to the 2018 and 2020 Olympic Games.

The Olympic Games are highly valued and hugely popular with audiences. The London 2012 Olympic Games was watched on the BBC by more than 50 million people in the UK, 7 million people in the UK accessed the BBC website every day, with 111 million requests for video throughout the Games, and over 2 million people downloaded the app. It was truly the first digital Olympic Games and the BBC raised the bar in its coverage.

The agreement marks the first Olympic Games sub-licensing deal by Discovery and reinforces Eurosport as the home of the Olympic Games across Europe, ensuring that every event is available to fans across all screens. The news follows an agreement announced by Discovery Communications and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) last June, which includes exclusive multimedia rights for 50 countries and territories in Europe for the 2018 through the 2024 Olympic Games. The rights for the UK were included for only 2022 and 2024, as these rights had already been secured by the BBC in the UK.

“The BBC prides itself on bringing the biggest sporting moments to the public. For many, the BBC has been their stadium for Olympic coverage. It is an event that unites the nation like no other. I’m delighted that through our new partnership with Discovery, the BBC will continue to carry the torch for great sporting coverage right through to the 2024 Games. While the BBC has had to take some tough financial decisions, this partnership underlines our commitment to making world-class sport available to all.” – Tony Hall, Director-General of the BBC

Olympic firsts on the BBCLondon Olympic Games DVD

  • 1928 (Amsterdam) First BBC radio broadcast.
  • 1948 (London) Games first televised in the UK – live on the BBC.
  • 2000 (Sydney) BBC Sport website launched bringing the Olympics to a whole new audience.
  • 2004 (Athens) ‘The Red Button Games’. Nine million people in the UK watched via the BBC’s enhanced service.
  • 2008 (Beijing) More video had been consumed on the web by the end of the first day in Beijing than during the whole of the Athens Games.
  • 2012 (London) The first truly digital Games – more than half the UK population accessed content online and it was the most watched event in TV history.
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